Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Did your child's school inform you about SLO testing?

The New York State Education Department has required the use of Student Learning Objective based pre-assessments for certain grade levels or subjects.  These pre-assessments are being used to determine student growth to evaluate our children's teachers.  Basically our kids take an exam measuring content that the students should learn by the end of the year.  So we are giving a test on skills that students have yet to learn towards the beginning of the school year.  

Teachers are reporting our youngest students crying in frustration as a result of trying to read or understand words or concepts they have yet to learn.  My middle school students asked me last week if my classes would be taking the pre-assessments.  I informed them "fortunately not".  High school students in my district, wise to fact that these exams are a waste of time, made a mockery of the process by giving nonsensical answers.

Did you know that your child was subjected to this madness?  Probably not.  

My children's school and the district in which I work did not inform parents about the SLO pre-assessments.  I was forwarded this letter where a school in my area made the decision to explain a little about the SLO process to parents.  Some schools have already completed the SLO pre-assessments for the fall, others will be soon.  Contact your school to find out if your child will be taking a SLO test.  Your school will say that all students must be tested, but you can challenge that.  My children have boycotted the SLO tests this year with the exception of the Second Grade Physical Education test.    I have to ask why are most districts failing to inform parents? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Damaging Policies

Some excellent reads on programs that cost our schools financially and educationally.

Race to the Top: An underfunded mandate harming our schools in so many ways.  A eye-opening study from SUNY-New Paltz: http://www.newpaltz.edu/crreo/brief_8_education.pdf

The Common Core: Educational Redeemer or Rainmaker?

Common Core Assessments: More Tests, But Not Much Better


More on the SLO pre-assessments: Federal education measure punishes students

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The revolution is growing!

Over the last few weeks I have communicated with numerous public education advocates from across New York State.  Many of these fine folks were involved in the opt-out movement last year or are organizing boycotts of state assessments for the first time.  It is nice to know we are not alone!  Soon many of us will be uniting to brainstorm and further spread the defense of our public schools.  The opt-out movement has the potential to be a force to deal with this year!

NY times story on the upcoming (October 23-25) Field Tests.

Anti-testing resolution from my a school board member in my community: 

Here are some new articles from principals in New York State who understand the hard of high-stakes testing on our children:

Peter DeWitt, Albany area: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/10/there_is_a_silver_bullet_to_save_education.html

Carol Burris, Long Island:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More good reads.

I wrote about the Student Learning Objectives(SLO) that will hurt our children in August, here is a great piece by a Long Island Principal about SLO's: http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com/2012/10/slo-squashed-learning-opportunities.html

Teachers need to speak up from Diane Ravitch's blog: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/10/03/parent-to-teachers-speak-up/ 

This is really cool!  Diane Ravitch mentioned my recent piece on her blog: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/10/03/the-state-assessment-is-useless/  

A sad story that shows what happens when an adult's job depends on high-stakes test scores: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/school-district-rebuilds-_0_n_1933327.html 

(10/4) Bad education practice from Peter DeWitt. Google this author's name, plenty of great education articles.  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/10/this_is_not_an_implementation_dip_its_just_bad_practice.html

Monday, October 1, 2012

A call to action for parents!

The Niagara Region PTA has produced a resolution opposing high-stakes testing and calling for a moratorium on the 3-8 testing program.

Here is the press release: http://roundtheinkwell.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/nrptapressrelease-1.pdf

Here is the resolution: http://roundtheinkwell.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ptaresolution2.pdf

If parents can work with their local and regional PTA groups to support the Niagara Region's resolution, we can use our collective voice to fight the high-stakes testing movement.

Contact your PTA officials, attend a meeting, and get involved to save our children's public education.